Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Day The Music Died

 

I was 50 years ago today, February 3, 1959, that we lost three men who would go down in history as the first of our generation to out in a blaze of glory - so to speak. I was fourteen at the time and I remember sitting at the kitchen table listening over and over to the radio reports of the crash. This is one of the first incidences that effected my life in a way that still bothers me today. I may post about it one day, not that you care or anything. It just did.

MSNBC had this to say in part:

"The wreckage of a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was scattered across a small area of snow-covered cornfield outside of Clear Lake, Iowa. The plane crashed into the ground suddenly, so most of the smoldering rubble was concentrated in one area. Three passengers — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, a.k.a. “The Big Bopper” — were ejected from the plane and died on impact, as did the pilot, 21-year-old Roger Peterson.

That happened on Feb. 3, 1959, exactly 50 years ago this Tuesday."


The thing that struck me the most about this article was the fact that the pilot was only 21 years old. I did not know that, and I wonder if lack of experience directly caused the crash. I mean, mid winter in the mid-west back in 1959 in an era that did not have the best of defrosting equipment? It goes back to the old saying, "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots; but there are no old, bold pilots."

Also, I guess most of you know that Waylon Jennings was one of the Crickets (Holly's band) and gave up his seat on the plain to the Big Bopper. Buddy was ragging him on taking the bus and Waylon's last words to him were, "I hope the plane crashes." It haunted him to his dying day.

I also wonder how famous Buddy and the other guys would be today if the crash had not happened. We will never know, but what I do know is, it affected my generation in a huge way. We found out we were not immortal.
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14 comments:

Olly said...

So sad. I have a (reproduction) poster of the last show they did before the crash in my retro fifties kitchen. It's my favorite!

Cant Hardly Wait said...

Yeah, the first thing I noticed reading that was that he was 21. I do imagine that 21 year olds back then were different from today's 21 year olds. Like... they weren't as stupid back then...

I've only ever heard of one of them before. I guess I am too young.

coffeypot said...

Olly, post a picture of it, I would like to see it.

Georgette, I assume you are talking about the Big Bopper who sang ‘Chantilly Lace’ or Richie Valens who sang ‘La Bamba’. Google them or see it the music is on YouTube.

Biddie said...

I heard that about Waylon jennings..I often wonder what the past 50 years have been like for him..Survivors guilt and all of that.
Such a huge loss.

Olly said...

Ok, am putting it up on my blog in a few minutes. Wow, didn't know about the Waylon Jennings bit.

e.Craig Crawford said...

I was a high school senior, and Buddy Holly was the rage. Anyone down for some Chantilly Lace? How about Donna?

Pamela said...

I vaguely remember it -- just a wisp of blurred memory

Special K said...

I can only imagine how it would of been to of been alive to witness that news. It must of been heartbreaking!!
I am 40 but have heard and knew of everyone of them thanks to my Mom, Dad and Aunt! Their music lives on!

SuvvyGirl said...

I did not know that Waylon was part of the Crickets. I never paid enough attention to that detail I guess.

I agree with Cant Hardly Wait's statement on 21 year olds. Those were definately different times.

I think there is a pivitol moment in every generation that kind of says "hey! Wake up!!" Over the years I think it's taken more and more things happening for people to really wake up and understand...and maybe I'll have to do my own post on the rest of my thoughts. Too many to ramble here :P

coffeypot said...

Biddie, it did bother Waylon all his life.

Olly, thank you!

E.Craig, Richie’s ‘La Bamba’ wasn’t that big here in the South. Shit, we were having enough trouble learning English.

Pamela, started drinking young didn’t you.

Special K, it’s good to hear from you again. My daughter, Marni, was raised on the oldies, too.

Georgette, post away. The thing is, the FAA requirements for a commercial pilot’s license is so much more stringent today than in the 50’s. I don’t think I would like to fly on a commercial flight piloted by a 21 year old. I want experience.

Fantastagirl said...

I grew up in the Clear Lake Area - and every February they have a huge Winter Dance - We all knew the stories... I'm not old enough to say that it greatly affected me - but my parents loved their music, so I know who they are, and their songs...

I would say that 21 back then was much different than 21 today. Just my two cents.

coffeypot said...

Fantastagirl, I appreciate your two cents worth and you don’t even get any change back.

Brother Dave said...

"I hope the plane crashes" does not send the kindly message of "may you break a leg."

Southern (in)Sanity said...

The world of music changed forever on that day. Who knows what might have happened differently had that tragic crash not occurred.

And, you're right about Waylon Jennings. What a horrible thing to have to live with.